I have just been blessed with an amazing holiday in Borneo and while we were there we befriended another family who not only live in Tokyo, but their son attends the same school as ours! Small world!
A couple of times she asked me how I managed as a ‘almost’ single parent. (My DH’s work schedule means that he is usually is gone for 12+ hours a day.) I joked and said with the aid of this….
But jokes aside, how do I manage? How do I get through ‘Arsenic hour’ as I call it?
1: I have a routine.
The children have a system that they know to follow. It is a simple system, but clear and easy to follow, so even my son could follow it from when he was 3.
2: I have back up meals in the freezer for those insane nights.
Firstly, let me explain, I have only occasionally sacrificed a day where I have done a serious freezer cooking session. Usually this has been preceded by a trip to Costco, so I have masses of meat that needs storage!
My style of freezer cooking is to never cook enough to feed one meal. Even if it means I only have one portion at the end, I bag up the portions into individual ziploc bags, label them and store them in the freezer. So on a truly insane night, I can boil up some pasta or rice and warm up the sauce in the microwave. Hey presto- instant TV dinner without the nasties…
3: I have some help.
I have a wonderful lady who comes in and cleans for me once a week, twice if I need her and, in a season where my plantar fasciitis was so painful that I was a gibbering wreck by 5pm, three times a week. The key thing about her help, is that no matter how often she comes in to help me, she comes at 4 pm. That way, she clears up in the kitchen after I have cooked the supper and tidied up a little round the house. Something that just makes my life that much easier those nights.
4: My timer is my friend.
‘5 Minute Warning’ is a common phrase in our house. It is the warning I give my children to finish what they are doing as they need to have supper/ tidy up/ leaving a friends house etc. On nights when the playroom is overwhelming messy- 5 minutes of tidying up. I’ll give myself 20 minutes of tidying in the evening before I sit down and relax.
5: I have a babysitter called Apple
There- I’ve said it! I rely on electronic babysitters. There are days where the kids are too much to handle, someone’s tired or I’m ailing (for the last three years I have been experiencing recurring back pain or pain somewhere that’s linked to it.) It’s those days that I break my “No electronics before 17:30” rule and hand them out to anyone interested.
Those would be My 5 top tips that I use to keep sane. Don’t get me wrong, my glass of wine in the evening is my reward for getting the children to bed in a better state than the old woman who lived in a shoe. Though I have had some days where it’s been very tempting to follow her lead! And on days when you do lose your cool. When you’re thinking of ugly thoughts about your darling monsters.
Give yourself grace, because we’ve all been there.